Sunday, December 31, 2006

 

ID Across the Sea


The Times of London is reporting that the British government has cleared the way for Intelligent Design to be taught in Britain’s schools as part of the religious syllabus.

Lord Adonis, an education minister, is to issue guidelines within two months for the teaching of "intelligent design" (ID), a theory being promoted by the religious right in America.

Until now the government has not approved the teaching of the controversial theory, which contradicts Darwinian evolutionary theory, the basis of modern biology.

Adonis said in a parliamentary answer: "Intelligent design can be explored in religious education as part of developing an understanding of different beliefs."
Lord Adonis stopped short of permitting the teaching of ID in science classes but Truth in Science, a creationist group that has been advocating the teaching of creationism, including sending "educational" materials to schools across the country unbidden, hailed the development as a significant breakthrough.

Notably:

It has emerged that 12 prominent academics wrote to Tony Blair and Alan Johnson, the education secretary, last month arguing that ID should be taught as part of science on the national curriculum.

They included Antony Flew, formerly professor of philosophy at Reading University; Terry Hamblin, professor of immunohaemotology at Southampton University; and John Walton, professor of chemistry at St Andrews University.
Strangely, a spokesman for Americans United for Separation of Church and State weighed in:

Robert Boston, a spokesman for the group, warned against the teaching of ID in Britain.

He said it "could possibly leave an entire generation of people not capable of meeting the scientific challenges of this century".
Besides the fact that it is none of any American's business per se, that comment, assuming it was actually in response to Lord Adonis' announcement, would fly in the face of my understanding of the position of Americans United, which has stated that religious concepts like ID can be taught in properly constituted classes on religion.

As an example of that attitude in Britain, Colin Slee, the Dean of Southwark, said:

Everything needs to be explored, so that children can ask sensible questions. Though I see no huge difficulty with exploring intelligent design or creationism or flat Earth, they happen to be misguided, foolish and flying in the face of all evidence. I see no problem with Darwinian theory and Christian faith going hand in hand.
On the other hand, Canon Jeremy Davies, Precentor of Salisbury cathedral, said:

I don’t see why religious education should be a dumping ground for fantasies. If it is claimed that this is a scientific theory, why isn’t it explored in science classes? Its validity or otherwise should be tested against the usual criteria.
The devil, as always, is in the details. Teaching ID in religion classes is just the start. Whether here in America or in Britain, there should be an explanation of why ID is not science but a religious idea. The raison d’être for teaching ID at all is the promotion of religious freedom. To claim that right, it should be appropriately labeled.
.

Comments:
I wonder if Lord Adonis is the most handsome education minister EVER?

Great blog!!
 
I wonder if Lord Adonis is the most handsome education minister EVER?

No

(And thanks.)
 
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